Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

(Or Makes It Easier to Finish You Off the Next Time)

As threatened promised, here is how spin class went down on Friday.  I'm going to tell you up front that my "revelation" on the bike was really just a reminder, but it seemed like brand new information at the time based on how I was feeling that day.  I'm warning you now, so you won't read the whole post and then wish you could get your time back for something you most likely already knew.

First of all, I was still in a bad mood when I got there. If anything, the realization that I was being a little ridiculous was annoying me more.  Further, while there was a part of me that wanted to not whine and complain, there was another part of me that wanted someone to acknowledge that it was a big deal that I made it out of bed to get there (not that it was that big of a deal, but since when did emotion EVER listen to logic?) The worst part was that at various times I kept having to fight tears (so stupid, but what can I say? The hormones hit harder this month than normal).  I don't even remember the proximal causes to why I was being like that, I just know I was feeling like a real moron.  Plus, if anyone asked what was wrong, can you imagine trying to explain that? "Nothing" and "Everything" both seemed like legit responses.

So there's where I am in my head, and I'm on the bike mostly keeping my mouth shut instead of my normal chatting with people before class starts.  I didn't want to leak all the negativity everywhere.  Then class starts, and the instructor announces that we're going to do speed work All. Class. Long.  Not even joking, that's probably one of the times that I cried.  Speed work is one of the hardest things for me, but it's usually one block (12-15 minutes) or one set of intervals.  Even then, it's tough, but the whole hour?  I was really kicking myself for not staying in bed.  If we were slower paces with heavy resistance and I was feeling like it was too much, I could back off the resistance, but you can't back off speed work without everyone knowing that you're slacking off.  You can only decrease the load so much before you lose control, so you have to keep at least some resistance with your speed. There would be no half-a$$ing it on a day that I felt like the phrase "half-a$$ed slacker" was the very definition of me (well, we'd clearly also have to add "hot mess" to the definition to get the full picture).  Therefore, the workout sounded impossible before it even began.

Sure enough, it was an impossible workout.  I'm pretty sure that there were a couple of songs in there that I was crying because I felt like I couldn't possibly go on because everything was burning and the pace plus the load felt impossible to maintain for that long.  This lasted the first 20-30 minutes of class, and I spent the entire time convinced that I couldn't do this.

Then I think my ODD* kicked in. Usually it takes someone else to flip me into defiance mode, but then again, the emotions did kind of feel like someone else.  All I know is that somewhere inside there was a voice that said "Oh, really? You can't do this? Ha! Not only can you keep going, you will push a little harder."  There was another a little turning point where we got one block done and we got a little break, and the instructor said "Ow" in the same kind of tone (kinda whiny) that I was thinking it.  I don't know, it was something about the acknowledgement that what we were doing was hard, and it wasn't just me, and it wasn't just this impossible day.  As I started to make that decision to push my limits a little more, I started to become more focused and less "hot mess".  By 40 minutes into class, I was starting to feel really good.  Maybe the endorphins were kicking in?  Whatever.  All I know is that the bad attitude that I couldn't get rid of was gone, and the workout that I couldn't do, I was doing.

My revelation for the day came in the midst of one of those never ending songs.  Possibly about where we transitioned from one song to another that was the EXACT same pace as the previous song, so absolutely nothing changed about our ride for those 7-8 minutes, except for the periodic "add a gear".  Spin class is always hard, but usually there are phases.  You may do some speed with a certain amount of load, but then you may slow down and do a "hill", which means your load is higher even while your speed is slower, but it still works your muscles differently.  Also, at lower speeds, you may stand part of the time and sit part of the time.  But constant speed without changing things was MUCH tougher. Suddenly, life made a little more sense in that dealing with this same thing for so long was tough, especially when nothing is changing.  I don't know, I guess since I've been dealing with it for so long, sometimes I just think I should know how to deal with it and stopped getting tripped up all the time.  I needed that reminder that it's hard and in some ways it does get harder to deal with as you keep pushing through and everything's tired.  But it also gets easier as we get stronger in other ways, just like working out.

The revelation that I came to after that stretch was, "I survived it."  I held the pace and made it through, no matter how crappy it felt.  I am not convinced that my so-called period of "waiting" is ever going to end, but like the impossible workout, it may be possible to survive it and make it through.  Granted, my subtitle for this post tells you how I really feel sometimes while trying to survive, but nonetheless.  I'm sure my muscles will get stronger from the impossible workout, but I know I was stronger after that workout was done.

I guess this is a lot of words to say, chin up and all that stuff.  It does feel impossible, and it is sort of impossible in some ways, but we're not alone.  It doesn't matter what you're going through, sticking with it and continuing on is TOUGH, whether that's dealing with another Valentine's day as a single, or another CD 1 in dealing with IF (at least Valentine's day isn't every month!) breaking up a thousand never ending toddler fights, dealing with chronic pain that won't give you a break, or whatever you are going through right now that you just don't think you can do for another minute of another day. Really, we will all survive!  And if it doesn't kill us, it will make us stronger... Or easier to finish off the next time. ;)  It's a joke, people.

There is one other thing that I'm thinking here.  Our breaks on that workout were few and far between, but they were there and they were desperately needed.  I am glad that a lot of mothers are getting a chance to go to the Edel Gathering that has so many excited.  It sounds like a blast and there will be a lot of people there that I would love to meet, but their focus is not going to be something that would really fit for me at all at this stage of my life.  Which is why I am SO looking forward to a break in the Waiting Well Weekend that Donna has so graciously taken on organizing.  We all need that time where we can breathe for a minute and be with someone that gets it. Praying that whatever you're going through, you get a breather and a realization that you're not alone and that you will survive!

*As I've mentioned before, my sister likes to joke that I have Oppositional Defiant Disorder, which basically means if you tell me that I have to or can't do something, I will do the opposite because it's like a switch flips and I'm going to show you what I have to or can't do, and it ain't what you just said.


  1. First of all - are you for sure going to the Waiting Well Weekend? That sounds awesome and color me green with envy.

    Okay, but back to the point at hand...M - seriously just reading your description of the spin class almost induced a cold sweat as it sounds impossibly hard and arduous. But you have my sincere admiration and respect. And dang girl..you are one awesome ODD of a woman! (I mean that as a compliment.) I don't have any great words of wisdom because I suck at persevering through the super tough times and end up crying way more than I should and just praying that I will make it through to the other side.

    But, I just wanted to say, go YOU! :)

    1. Okay, that was JBTC above...I am signed into another account.

  2. So glad you're going to be able to get away with people who "get it". I wish I could get away, but holy moly, the prices just for the tickets to Edel...then combine hotel and stuff... yeah, not happening here, but excited for those who get that chance.

    This is a good post and I find that the most difficult workouts often bring out some great revelation in me, too. :)

  3. As I am starting to try and make working out a normal thing for me I can so relate to this! There are times where I think I can't do it but then you dig deep and turn on your ODD and you just do it. The breaks are soooo necessary for carrying any cross, they give us the grace and perseverance to keep going. Thanks for sharing your spin class revelations :) I am a little jealous btw that you are going to the Waiting Well gathering!

  4. Workouts can be such a great chance to get out of our heads and quit thinking and obsessing. (Especially when we don't feel like!) I'm glad you came out of spin class feeling so much better.

  5. Agree with all these gals, M. Great post!

    P.S. Waiting Well sound so cool!!

  6. Way to go CM!! Your determination and transformation of spirit inspire me and remind me of all of the miracles in my life.
    Waiting is so revealing of our greatest desires. I remember in 9 years of IF I never stopped dreaming of holding my baby in my arms. For many years there was no end in sight and in those years it was so hard. There did come a time though where I just began power through the emotions and find genuine joy in others blessings. I will be praying for you today and this weekend, know you are loved perfectly by God, your creator. Know that his marvelous plan will be reveled one day and that your waiting well will bear much fruit!!!

  7. I've read in more than one place in spiritual reading (of course, I can't remember exactly where...ha) that fortitude is the most important virtue. You've got it girl! Beautiful post...